PickTrace is proud to be a team of diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests. Each week we highlight members of our team to learn about what makes them, and PickTrace, unique.

Learn more about Staff Software Engineering Manager, Ke Zhang!

  • Grew Up In: small village in China – about 15 min from a small city called Yun Cheng which translates to “the city of prosperity”
  • Currently Lives In: San Diego, CA
  • Star Sign: Gemini in Western Astrology, Horse in the Chinese Zodiac
  • Favorite food: I can’t say, I’m open to different foods and like to try different things. There’s very few foods I’ve tried that I don’t like
  • Dream vacation: The one place I have always wanted to go is Machu Picchu
  • The last song you listened to: I listen to a lot of classical music – I recently spent much time listening to the Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  • The last emoji you used: I think I used thumbs up or pray hands- those are my top two emojis in Slack
You started out as an astrophysicist, what brought you to engineering?
  • Academia is very nice and gives you a different lifestyle but it’s not for everyone, you have to devote a lot of time if you want to be successful. After a few years I felt it wasn’t for me – that I’d rather spend more time with my kids and family.
  • I had a few options for where to go – one option was quantitative analyst, other was software engineer
  • Back then I think I had some negative feelings towards banks – I felt that if I chose banking it might give me a better career but I’d have to work somewhere I don’t agree with, so software engineering was the next choice
What do you most enjoy about working in Ops?
  • The main thing I like about Ops is that I’m constantly doing different things, I can’t do the same thing for too long.
  • In Ops you learn different tools. If you’re viewing the whole software ecology as a system – developing is one section of the ecosystem, but all the rest is operations
  • A day in operations is 50/50 planned & unplanned- when we plan ahead we have to plan time  to deal with things we cannot plan for  – you’re constantly context switching, but I context switch well
What’s a favorite memory from your time at PickTrace?
  • My best memory is the first engineering hackathon I went to – it was the first or second week after I started in a remote position and being able to meet everyone and spend the whole week with 20 of us in a big house like friends was amazing
What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?
  • Since I have kids 100% of my time is kids and yard
  • For now I spend most of the time doing gardening – both the delicate work with tender new plants and the tougher work like pulling weeds. I spent 10 hours pulling weeds last weekend and i’m only ⅓ of the way done
  • I helped with my son’s Science Olympiad team, but that’s ended now which is why I have time to weed. We got 3rd place regionals and 8th in state.
What’s something you’ve learned from your kids?
  • I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned from kids – and the biggest change from having them – is that I’m much more patient than I was before
  • Learning to give them enough freedom and as they get older – observing and not trying to conquer their lives
If you were a fruit or vegetable what would you be and why?
  • I like that passionfruit doesn’t look exciting until you get into it. From the outside it’s very plain, it doesn’t even look delicious – but once you cut it and smell it it’s fantastic.


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